COIMBATORE: The eighth annual elephant rejuvenation camp began at the sprawling 5 acres site at Thekampatti along the banks of the river Bhavani near Mettupalayam on Thursday.
The 48-days camp was inaugurated by the Minister for Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) R Kamaraj, Minister for Forests MSM Anandan and Minister for Municipal Administration SP Velumani. Out of the 43 temple elephants in the State, 30 were currently taking part in the camp.
Two temple elephants from Pondicherry were expected to join the camp in couple days. Two temple elephants from Rameshwaram and Srivilliputhur will be joining the camp later after the completion of the Kumbabishekam at their temples.
Authorities have also taken step to take care of the remaining elephants at their respective places. The State Government has allotted Rs 1.4 crores for this year’s rejuvenation camp, which will go on till February 23. Speaking to reporters, Minister for HR&CE R Kamaraj said, “The elephant rejuvenation camps were started by the AIADMK government in 2003. It was stopped by the DMK government and was resumed from 2011 after AIADMK resumed power.”
The first four elephant rejuvenation camps, were held at Theppakadu in Mudumalai. The camp, which is a pet project of the Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, was then shifted to Thekampatti near Mettupalayam from 2013, to avoid transporting the elephants on an uphill travel on the ghat road.
“Seven teams of veterinarians, each comprising seven members were formed to take care of the elephants in the camp. These teams will be on duty monitoring the health of the pachyderms on a shift basis. These elephants were already been administered Anthrax and TB vaccines. We will be taking dung samples to check their conditions,” said R Perumalsamy, Assistant Director, Animal Husbandry Department.
These elephants will be given a balanced diet, which includes Fruits, Ashtachoornam, Vitamin mixtures, mineral mixtures and boosters. They will be taken for a walk during morning and evening.